We don’t normally get involved in politics. We’re just honey farmers, right? But recent events have us very worried. And not just for ourselves – for everyone.
In addition to producing honey and beeswax, bees pollinate the plants that produce fruits, vegetables and nuts worldwide. Unfortunately pesticide use, parasites and Colony Collapse Disorder have reduced the number of bees available to carry out this important function.
While the population has been dwindling for years, the bee shortage is reaching alarming proportions. In fact, because bees are vital to 30% of the food supply, some experts predict a global food production crisis. It’s gotten so bad that farmers have started “renting” bees to pollinate their crops, paying beekeepers to put hives right on their farms.
Beekeepers like us have had to step up our annual investment, buying new queens and splitting our hives every year.
Although the bee die-off remains a scientific mystery, everyone agrees – it’s an ominous sign of an ecosystem in distress.
Down the Lane Farm
Many people ask how we got started in beekeeping. Our story is fun to share. Here’s what happened.
We moved into the family farm in 1990. Being young and just starting out, I often went to tag sales in search of furniture pieces and other treasures. I happened to stop in Clinton one Saturday morning and came upon beekeeping equipment. There was a bee suit, smoker, hat and veil, and a few odds and ends. I thought these were very cool. Even though I didn’t know what I would possibly do with these things, I bought them anyway and brought it all home. I was so excited to show my husband, Greg, the treasures I found. He and his grandfather were sitting at the kitchen table when I came in with an arm full. “What in the world are you going to do with that!?” they asked. I kiddingly said I was going to frame and hang everything. Gramps asked where I bought all the equipment and I told him. Well, it turned out that I bought the same gear that was used by a beekeeper from Clinton who once kept his bees here on the farm. What are the odds?
It was enough to peek Greg’s interest about beekeeping and he started learning. He bought his first hive in 1993 and the rest is history. He has kept bees ever since. He loves learning from veteran beekeepers and happily shares his passion with others new to the hobby.
In October of 2014 we decided to open a market on the farm to sell our honey and beeswax candles, soaps, and other handcrafted items. The first year we set up on the lawn every weekend and used a shed to display our Honey jars. The response from the community was so positive and inviting that we took over the barn and turned that into our new shop.
Our shop is always changing as new items are added regularly. New for 2017 will be our observation hive. Come and view the honeybees as they work. But no worries, they can’t fly around you!
Our plans going forward are to increase the number of hives we manage as well as to raise Queens. We look forward to sharing the next chapter of this story with you.
Down the Lane Farm, LLC is a family-run farm located in Killingworth, CT engaged in beekeeping and other farming productions. Greg, farmer and resident beekeeper has more than 20 years experience with honey bees. Maureen, farmer’s wife and product creator was introduced to the skin care industry more than 25 years ago. We are very excited to share with you our current farm products.